CFP: Conference Panel on "Planetary Thinking in the Age of Goethe", GSA 2023 (Deadline 15 March 2023)

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Call for Papers
October 5, 2023 to October 8, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Environmental History / Studies, European History / Studies, German History / Studies, History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, Intellectual History

GSA Conference
Montréal, Canada
October 5-8, 2023 

“If Hegel were alive to plumb the depths of our sense of the present,” writes Dipesh Chakrabarty at the outset of The Climate of History of in a Planetary Age, “he would notice […] an awareness of the planet and of its geobiological history.”  In recent years, critical discourse in the humanities has embraced what Amy Elias and Christian Morary have called a ‘planetary turn,’ appearing at the intersection of ecological, cosmological, and poetic concerns. While contributions to this mode of thinking have focused largely on the present, a number of theorists have directly turned to the Goethezeit in order to excavate the complex entanglement of environmental, technological, and postcolonial issues evoked by this new planetary awareness. Was not the “awareness of the planet” to which Chakrabarty refers already apparent in Karoline von Günderrode’s poetics, for example, or in the travel writings of Alexander von Humboldt and Goethe’s Weltliteratur? In the Facing Gaia lectures, Bruno Latour traces the ecological and cosmological contours of planetary thinking back to the curved perspective of Caspar David Friedrich’s 1832 Das große Gehege, drawing on the work of art historian Joseph Leo Koerner. While seeking an alternative to the apocalyptic analysis of technology and environment in the West, the philosopher Yuk Hui turns not just to Chinese philosophy and landscape art, but to German idealism and Kant’s cosmopolitics, highlighting the need to take seriously the plurality of technological operations and cosmological attitudes that constitute culture.

This panel seeks papers tracing the incipient contours of planetary thinking in the age of Goethe, focusing on its poetic, scientific, ecological, and political concerns. Papers could explore the cosmological and geopoetic dimensions of Friedrich’s Schelling’s Naturphilosophie, for example, or the peripatetic cosmopolitanism of Dorothea Schlegel-Veit’s Florentin. Investigations of the scientific and philosophical writings of Goethe and his peers are particularly welcome, as are contributions devoted to lesser-known topics and marginalized figures.

Please send a brief abstract to both Daniel Carranza ( and Bryan Norton ( by March 15, 2023

Contact Info: 

Daniel Carranza (
Bryan Norton (